Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending December 10

The Buzz

This has been the week of re-design, from Twitter, to StumbleUpon to Facebook - even if Facebook's rollout is only in New Zealand so far. I did see some changes on my own profile, so I don't think it will be too long before we get the new Facebook Timeline too. So far, what I've seen of the new designs is fantastic - that includes all three tools.

In other Facebook news, we've seen changes to events, a countersuit against and they added a subscribe button that is going to compete directly with Twitter's follow button. Subscriptions are finally causing a bit of a stir as we all realize that the potential for spamming our friends is high (and happening). I used to keep my Facebook pretty personal, but that line between personal and professional is blurring more and more. Subscriptions aren't necessarily the answer, but Pages aren't perfect. This filter that Josh Constine suggests seems like a good compromise. The problem is that all of your friends are default subscribers. How does one solve that?

Despite wide claims to the contrary, it seems that the vast majority of Facebook users have no problem with the data they're sharing on the social network.

Foursquare now has 15 million users, which is good news since Facebook purchased Gowalla this week. I, however, must agree with Chris Pirillo that location services aren't really delivering value.

Google+ has added facial recognition and greater Gmail integration into its burgeoning social network. And - thankfully - the facial recognition feature is opt-in.

For those who like Klout (or who are at least willing to continue using it), they've launched a new feature this week that I think is pretty nice. Now you can add a topic if their system doesn't automatically pick it up.

The Brilliance

Klout has remained a steady presence in my stream since the big algorithm change at the end of October, despite little news coming out about the tool. I've been actively avoiding the subject. This week a bunch of big names have been throwing around their views about Klout after Liz Strauss shared why she opted out. Jason Falls doesn't want to hear about people quitting anymore - I suspect from his strong words he feels it's a narcissistic move based on falling numbers. Christopher Penn encourages people to make the choice based on principle rather than numbers. Mark Shaeffer is seeing too many people criticizing Klout over privacy who don't pay nearly as much attention to the much bigger offenders - like Facebook. I think there are good points from all of them. I haven't seen the line crossed yet that really bothers me. Even opting in minors is something that can happen because of the data they have access to being incomplete. I don't care if people opt out, but if it's about the number, I agree with Jason - please don't tell me.

I had a conversation this week about whether to date blog posts. This is a new trend in blogging that is supposed to keep your content relevant for longer, increase shares and decrease bounce rates. That's all good in theory, but as Shel Holtz points out, some of that content is time-sensitive (like the Buzz and Brilliance posts I do weekly). I do like the happy medium of putting a date in the copy, but even some commentary that may be seemingly timeless can become outdated as tools and practices change.

SEO can strike fear into just about any novice and many veteran bloggers, but it's something we all need to learn if building an audience is a goal. Learning from others' mistakes can be a good starting point.

After reading this post earlier this week, I have once again started discontinuing the practice of automated posts to Facebook. Despite my desire to have posts go up as quickly as possible, I see the advantages of manually sharing with an engaging question or comment. I think the same applies to twitter, though to a lesser extent since I re-share over there manually.

What's the best way to learn how to use a tool well? By checking out what others are doing. Sometimes they're doing really poorly and you can learn from that. Others have developed best practices that stand out.

I love reading stories about how people use technology to do a better job and this one about Evernote use to be a better blogger is no exception. It's a great tool; try it out!

More reading opportunities are coming up - this one is free. I've heard nothing but good about Julien Smith's Flinch, release on Kindle as part of the Domino Project.

I passed this along on a couple of networks this week because it's fun. How many of these warning signs apply to you?

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 5

In general, the news this week was pretty lackluster - nothing really huge going on, but that doesn't mean there wasn't lots going on anyway, unless you're Google.

The more I see complaints about privacy (especially in regard to Facebook), the more frustrated I become. Look for more on that in the coming week. But, this post from Kelly Clay at Lockergnome really hits the nail on the head when it comes to all the people I see threatening to leave Facebook. Really? Will you? Because it's where your friends are, so are these serious threats or simply expressions of frustration? That said, will those who stay fill in their timeline now that they can back date posts? I'm still very much up in the air about doing this. Partially because of time (I don't have any). Partially because of privacy (I'd like to keep it).

In the ever-popular commentary on the war between Facebook and Google+, a new angle was introduced this week when Google integrated G+ with Google Apps - the enterprise angle. Mashable guest poster, Balakrishna Narasimhan, believes that could be the key to victory and the commentary is interesting, but I say that's just another huge difference that sets Google+ apart and makes it complementary to Facebook. Of course, guest poster, Aidan Hijleh, on All Facebook would probably disagree with me - they think Facebook is going to win. When I read commentary like this from Social Times, I'm convinced that the market that Google is targeting isn't your mom, dad and high school classmates. I've always looked at Google+ as a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn anyway...sort of.

Other Google news includes a facelift for Google Reader and integration into G+ as well. There's been backlash at the changes, but nothing that I think will convince Google to roll back the clock. Other than missing the count of posts I've starred, I have no issues with the update. Gmail is the other big Google product to get an overhaul this week. I'm not a fan of the Gmail interface - I use Outlook as my email client (even for web-based accounts), but they have made some nice changes. With all the integration, including YouTube, that Google+ is giving its users, Google is becoming quite a powerhouse of information and content.

Here's a few other briefs for you:

Why Comments Help You: Bloggers love comments (hint, hint). But have you ever seen the benefits for yourself? Trust me, there are benefits.

Protecting Your Home: We've all seen cringe-worthy posts where someone says too much about something. Here's how to avoid sharing too much about where you live.

Tumblr Spam: Tumblr has admitted to having a spam problem and they're working to resolve it. I have an account, but I haven't actually seen any spam. Unless you count this. (Oh, Klout, you have problems!)

Twitter Ettiquette: I really wanted to share this link with a new follower this week who immediately wrote a sales pitch to me when I followed back. The person did engage with me a bit after, so I held off. I did notice that someone else gave them some advice. Appropriately so since the pitch they were sending to everyone (apparently) didn't apply to that individual. And it made me want to share Susan's tips once again.

Facebook Privacy and Access: In another fun privacy story about Facebook, researchers found it was quite easy to friend users through their mutual friends - from fake accounts.  I'd say this is a great reason to be selective about who you're connecting with.

For all the complaints people have about privacy on Facebook, there are actually some pretty sophisticated features in place to help people protect themselves. Unfortunately, they aren't commonly known.

Social Media in the Workplace: What's your preference: Access to Facebook at work or a higher salary? The answer might surprise you.

Crowdsourcing Life: There is so much good going on in social media. It's overwhelming sometimes - especially when I hear about life and death situations where people are spurred to act and raise awareness.

MySpace getting its SexyBack: Well, at least Justin Timberlake is going to try. This is one story that barely got any play this week. It's the reason I dislike seeing "<insert social network/tool> is dead" whenever I see it. Until you're down to a handful of users, it's not dead. MySpace is bleeding users, but Justin Timberlake has proven himself to be a smarter than average businessman. I'm extremely curious to see what happens with this.


The Business Book Club's first reading assignment was set this week. I started reading yesterday and I can tell this book is going to challenge me in numerous ways. Will you join us?